PREVIEW: Round 18 @ Peel Thunder

Subiaco (14-1) face one of the biggest challenges this season with a trip to Mandurah to face the high-flying Thunder (10-5).

Peel have won five in a row, every game since the sides last met, and will be looking to derail the Lions historic 14 game winning streak.

Subi haven’t lost a game since Round One in mid-March. The following spell has resulted in some of the most dominant football produced by a WAFL team in recent years.

These two sides have created an epic rivalry over the last few years, ever since Peel’s alignment with the Fremantle Dockers.

The two sides battled intensely last year before the Docker strengthened Thunder found a way over Subi in the 2016 Grand Final by 23 points. Subi have been hell-bent on revenge this year claiming a 15-point win in Round Four and more recently a four-point heart stopper over Peel which was sealed by a Kyal Horsley goal in the dying seconds.
Some key performers for Subiaco over the last month include the skipper Horsley and his midfield compatriots Adam Cockie and Leigh Kitchin. The experienced unit have the skill and work ethic to get on top of the AFL class that will oppose them on Saturday. Ben Sokol has been on fire in the forward line and continues to reap reward from the space being created by WAFL leading goal-kicker Liam Ryan.
Peel have enjoyed the services of Rory O'Brien who has collected 373 disposals from his 15 games in 2017. One of their best performers Sam Collins has also been a revelation, gathering 229 disposals whilst leading the league with 112 marks on the season. If Collins is left out of the Fremantle side he will most likely go to Ben Sokol. 
Subiaco and Peel have the ability to absorb pressure from opposition team and use that to rebound. The two sides’ have conceded the least amount of points in the league with the Thunder conceding 62 points against a game, slightly better than Subiaco who are at 66 a game. The most incredible thing about the Maroons defensive numbers comes from the fluidity of personnel through the back six this year.

One of the biggest stories of the year has been the return of star Fremantle recruit Harley Bennell who played his first game against East Perth last week since Round One, 2016. Ironically his last game before the Royals last week was in a loss against Subi, were he re-aggravated a calf injury at Mandurah. The Dockers are looking to build the pacey ball-winner back in to form, but the Lions will be wary of his ability.
Subiaco have had to overcome some considerable hurdles in regards to team selection this year and Jarrad Schofield has blooded 13 debutants in 2017. Simon Parry and Tim Sutherland’s inclusions into last week’s team makes Subi one of the most resourceful clubs in the WAFL. They have managed to utilise the most out of their depth and will have to continue to do so as the business end of the season approaches.

In one of the best WAFL battles seen in recent years, the Thunder made a strong comeback and hit the lead with under a minute to go through Gerard Ugle. A brave rebound from the back muscled the ball up the field and over the pocket boundary line to cause a stoppage. In the following play, captain Kyal Horsley telegraphed young ruckman Sean Darcy’s hit-down to Danyle Pearce, intercepted and slapped it on the left boot for a famous Maroons victory.
Bendigo Bank Stadium
Sat, 22 Jul 2017 2:40 PM
Head to Head
Played: 52   Peel Thunder: 8   Subiaco: 44
At Bendigo Bank Stadium
Played: 26   Peel Thunder: 4   Subiaco: 22

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